Minnesota Twins pitcher Kenta Maeda underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday and will miss the next 9-12 months as part of his recovery.
According to The Athletic's Aaron Gleeman, Maeda opted to have an internal brace placed in his arm as part of the surgery. The brace will reduce recovery time and allow Maeda to return faster than the original 12-18 month timetable.
Maeda had a disappointing season after finishing second in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2020. The right-hander posted a 6-5 record and a 4.66 ERA over 21 starts this season and missed time with a groin injury in June.
The latest injury throws a wrench into the 2022 rotation as Maeda won't return until May in a best-case scenario. Top pitching prospect Joe Ryan will make his Twins debut on Wednesday night but the other internal options include Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax and Randy Dobnak.
That could lead the Twins to look to free agency to fill their rotation but that hasn't paid off. 2020 acquisitions Rich Hill and Homer Bailey struggled and 2021 acquisitions J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker are no longer with the team.
If the Twins believe they can make a quick turnaround next season, finding pitching will be a top priority. With their top arm on the shelf, that task gets harder heading into the offseason.